Anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim attacks on rise in NJ amid Israel-Gaza conflict, advocates say

WABC logo
Monday, October 16, 2023
Anti-Palestinian attacks on rise in NJ amid Mideast war, advocates say
Palestinian Americans and Muslims in New Jersey have suffered an increase in attacks both physical and verbal, since the start of recent hostilities. Anthony Johnson has the story.

CLIFTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, Palestinians in the Tri-State area are standing up and addressing the rise in anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bigotry since the war started.

They want people to know the terrorist views of Hamas do not represent the views of all Palestinians and they want the hate to end.

The community says it is being targeted both at home and abroad.

One mother in New Jersey said she has three kids stuck in Gaza and she doesn't know if they are dead or alive and she hasn't heard from them in days.

These times are agonizing for many in the United States who have relatives caught in the conflict in Gaza.

Duaa Abufares' American father was planning to come home on the 20th and is still stuck in the northern part of Gaza.

"I need my father to stay alive, I stay up at night every night praying and hoping he comes home safely," Abufares said.

The humanitarian crisis is growing with thousands trying to escape the bombing in Gaza.

"Palestinian lives are not lesser than any other lives," said Basma Bsharat with the Palestinian American Community Center

Palestinian Americans and Muslims in New Jersey have suffered an increase in attacks, both physical and verbal, since the start of recent hostilities in Israel and Gaza, advocates say.

"Every day we sit waiting on our phones to see if our friends and our family are alive," Executive Director of the Palestinian American Community Center Rania Mustafa said.

Supporters say the targeting of Palestinian and Muslim people has been echoed by politicians at every level who have turned their backs on the Muslim community.

"Words matter, and yours words as elected officials have shaped a twisted narrative that has dehumanized and even demonized the Muslim and Palestinian community," Executive Director of CAIR-NJ Selaedin Maksut said.

The staff at the Palestinian American Community Center say they are getting calls from schools and businesses about harassment and intimidation.

"I receive a call, I pick up the phone, 'Yes we want to come burn you, we're going to burn your business and family,' and then they hang up," said Paterson business owner Raed Odeh.

ALSO READ | NYPD Hate Crime Task Force investigating assault of Sikh man on MTA bus

Police released new pictures of a suspect wanted for beating up a Sikh man on an MTA bus in Queens.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.